Capodimonte, the most beautiful park in Italy

OK, Capodimonte won this accolade back in 2015.  But I would still encourage you to take a short walk by 4K video through this huge, rambling, atmospheric, overgrown ex-Royal park on a high hill above Naples. It’s a perfect place to jog, picnic, play with your kids, take a weekend stroll, have a furtive assignation, or walk off a large lunch.

Or better still to find a quiet place for inner reflection, away from the hectic city below.


The wildflowers of the Sicilian Spring

‘Where are you going on holiday?’ asked an Italian friend. ‘Sicily at the end of April and the beginning of May’.  ‘Ah, just the right time for the wild flowers’.

He was right.  Before the arrival of the suffocating, ‘tyrannous‘ summer heat, Spring in Sicily is when ‘the climate’s delicate; the air most sweet‘. The local ancient Greeks believed that Persephone, queen of the underworld, emerged in Spring from her Sicilian captivity at the hands of Hades, bringing new life and the renewal of nature.

At this time of year, Sicily is carpeted from end to end with beautiful swathes of wild flowers that line the roads and country lanes, cling to the walls of Greek ruins or deserted farm houses, spread across untended fields or sit underneath groves of olive, almond and orange trees.  When driving you glimpse the blue of borage and echium, the pink of valerian, the blood red of roadside poppies, the yellow of broom, corn marigold, mimosa and wild fennel, the lilac of wisteria, the creamy white of snapdragons and other flashes of orange, purple, scarlet and magenta. Everywhere the air is heady with the ‘erotic waft‘ of citrus blossom, referred to as zagara, an word passed from Arabic into Sicilian and then Italian.

The Sicilians say ‘Aprili fa li ciuri e le biddizzi, l’onuri l’havi lu misi di maju‘ — April makes the flowers and the beauty, but May gets all the credit — making this a perfect time to visit this enchanting island as shown below.


A Sunday Stroll along the Fountains of Caserta Palace

Despite the damp, chilly weather, today was perfect for a Sunday wander along Vanvitelli‘s long, water-lined ceremonial arcade at Caserta Royal Palace, also known as the Italian Versailles.

Stretching for 3km, the straight road takes you gently uphill from the huge 1000-room Palace to the foot of the Grand Cascade, a series of increasingly ornate marble fountains, each with a different classical theme – Venus and Adonis; Aeolus; Ceres; Diana and Actaeon.

More pictures below:

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Colours of the Italian Summer

Summer in Naples is long and hot.  A particular annual treat is the blooming of the oleanders in various shades of pink along the roads throughout the area.  Elsewhere vibrant, almost gaudy bougainvilleas climb walls and jasmine scents the air.  Here are a few pictures of the neighbourhood.